2012 Pumpkin Explosion (18 November 2012)
* *  Mike Umscheid PHOTOGRAPHY & STORM CHASE BLOG   * *


About This Shoot
Date: 18 November 2012
Location: 5 Miles northwest of Dodge City, KS
Shoot Type:
Rating:
Synopsis:
My neighbors and I documented the shooting and exploding of 4 pumpkins of all sizes.

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18 November 2012

2012 Pumpkin Explosion


Mon, 19 Nov 2012 21:56:01 -0600
The Great Pumpkin Explosion 2012 -- Pumpkin #1
2012 Pumpkin Explosion Summary & Images (part 1)
I went out with my neighbors on Sunday afternoon to shoot & explode several pumpkins: from standard size ~20lb pumpkin all the way to a near 200lb pumpkin. Four pumpkins were shot at and exploded, including one of my 55lb pumpkins. My neighbor Ty and his boys took turns shooting with his AR-15 Rifle, targeting canisters of Tannerite that were placed beneath each of the pumpkins. The smaller pumpkin was shot at first, placed atop a 1-lb can of Tannerite.

I photographed each explosion using my Nikon D3 camera, which can fire off 9 frames per second in its high burst mode. I used the 600mm lens mounted with the Wimberly II gimbal head. It was unfortunately somewhat cloudy, but there was still plenty enough light to get nice stop action imagery at around 1/4000s shutter speed. That being said, in order to
achieve 1/4000s, I had to be shooting at 1250 ISO, which is really nothing for the D3. I kept the aperture at f/6.3 instead of wide open f/4 in order to preserve at least a little bit of depth of field. A countdown of "1-2-3-FIRE!" was yelled out for each shot, and I would hold down the remote cable release on "3" and capture about 2 seconds of images in the high burst mode, which would range anywhere from 18 to 25 frames or so. This worked well for 3 of the 4 shots. On the 2nd pumpkin, the trigger man (I forgot who it was on the 2nd pumpkin shot) actually fired right at "3" instead of "FIRE!", so I missed a few frames right at impact. Nevertheless, on the other three pumpkins this worked out fairly well.

On this post are the 6 frames right around impact/detonation of the smallest pumpkin atop 1-lb of explosives (spanning a whole 2/3 of a second total). The first frame of this sequence is the last frame I captured before impact, and image #2 is the first frame immediately (as in only a few milliseconds) after detonation. The frames that follow show the pumpkin fragmentation in lovely, high detail that Nikon 600mm optics can capture :)

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Mon, 19 Nov 2012 22:16:41 -0600
The Great Pumpkin Explosion 2012 -- Pumpkin #2
2012 Pumpkin Explosion Summary & Images (part 2)
Here's the second pumpkin, which was actually my pumpkin that weighed in at around 55 pounds.  Again, for this pumpkin 1-lb of Tannerite was used.  Same camera settings used as in Pumpkin #1, except I moved back just a little bit further because the outward projection of the pumpkin fragments were occurring very quickly and I wanted to get a little better pumpkin-to-dirt ejection ratio in the frame.  This was the pumpkin which was fired on just a bit prematurely, so I didn't get the remote trigger shutter for my camera released quite early enough.  The first frame of this sequence of images was an image of the pumpkin about two minutes before being fired upon.

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Mon, 19 Nov 2012 22:38:02 -0600
The Great Pumpkin Explosion 2012 -- Pumpkin #3
2012 Pumpkin Explosion Summary & Images (part 3)
This is pumpkin #3 sequence.  First frame is the last frame before impact/detonation and the second frame of this sequence is the first frame moments after impact/explosion.  This pumpkin was one of the two biggies -- pumpkins that Ty got from a grower down in the Ensign area I believe.  These pumpkins were at around 150 lbs each (I think).  1-lb of Tannerite on this one too.

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Mon, 19 Nov 2012 22:59:30 -0600
The Great Pumpkin Explosion 2012 -- Pumpkin #4
2012 Pumpkin Explosion Summary & Images (part 4)
And finally, here is the last pumpkin, exploding with 2.5 lbs of Tannerite!  This was a pretty fun shoot and largely a success.  Obviously, it would have sweet to have an ultra-high frame rate camera for something like this.  We found some pumpkin ejecta about 275 feet down range from the crater.  That's almost the length of a football field!  Thanks Ty and boys for putting on a good show!



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